The “sim racer” has very much become its own distinct thing over the course of the last 20 years or so.
Back in the 16-bit home computer era, the lines between arcade racers and more simulation-like affairs were a little more blurred thanks to the limitations of the technology of the time. And that’s where games like Fast Lane come in, combining old-school “vanishing point” racing with an arcade feel and more simulation-style aspects such as damage, wear and tear and realistic pit stops.
Praised by several publications around the time of its original release, Fast Lane holds up surprisingly well today… although its lack of save functionality means you’d better set a whole day aside if you want to run that whole championship!
You know me, I love an arcade racer. And while the Atari 8-bit era was very much a time where this genre was just starting to define itself, there were still some fun, interesting games to enjoy.
Baja Buggies from Gamestar is a game from the early days of the system that I didn’t play that often back in the day, primarily because it was on cassette, and who has time to sit around waiting for those things when you have a US Doubler-equipped 1050 disk drive for high-speed floppy loading goodness? (Said drive died recently, please raise a glass in memoriam. Thank you.)
Anyway. It’s an interesting racer that eschews the Pole Position timers-and-checkpoints formula in favour of an endurance race format: pass 80 opponents before you wreck your buggy or cross the finish line. The desert awaits!